Observe the child’s face as adults talk in different tones of voice.
Have adults talk and laugh about a happy topic, then talk about something that makes them angry.
The infant’s facial expression changes as the tone of the voice of the adult changes. The infant will stop smiling or vocalizing and listen to the harsh tone. The expression may then become flat or furrowed.
Children learn that part of communication is tone and inflection. Attaching meaning to inflection and tone is an important step in comprehension of what someone is trying to communicate. Help early childhood educators and parents understand the importance of consistency in communication. Facial expressions, tone, intonation, and words need to be congruent. Otherwise, children receive a mixed, and confusing, message.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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